Family Assistance
  What is Family Assistance (FA)?

Family Assistance (FA) provides cash assistance to eligible needy families that include a minor child living with a parent (including families where both parents are in the household) or a caretaker relative or a woman whose pregnancy is medically verified. It is operated under federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) guidelines.

What are the Guidelines of Family Assistance (FA)?

Under FA, eligible adults are limited to receiving benefits for a total of 60 months in their lifetime, including months of TANF-funded assistance granted in other states. Once this limit is reached, that adult and all members of his or her FA household are ineligible to receive any more FA benefits. The months need not be consecutive, but rather each individual month in which TANF-funded benefits are received is included in the lifetime count. The counting of this 60-month limit began in December, 1996.

Parents and other adult relatives who can work must be working or involved in work-like activities.

Parents are also responsible for cooperating with the local department of social services in locating any absent parent. Non-cooperation without good cause could result in the reduction or termination of FA Benefits.

What is the Eligibility Process for Family Assistance?

  • An application for Family Assistance may be made in person at one of the local Service Centers which is located in the applicant’s geographical catchment area.
  •  The applicant is given an appointment date for an interview and is asked to provide documentation to verify the information contained in the Temporary Assistance application.
  •  A decision on the application must be made within 30 days unless the applicant presents an emergency need such as no place to live or no food. When an emergency is declared, the applicant is interviewed in the office that day and the emergency is evaluated and addressed.
  • The applicant receives a letter advising him/her whether or not his/her application has been accepted or denied and is advised of his/her benefits entitlements.
  • The applicant, if eligible, must report any changes in his situation to the department in a timely manner, must participate in any mandated programs and must have his/her eligibility for Family Assistance recertified periodically.

What is the Transitional Opportunities Program (TOP)?

TOP is a specialized service delivery system created to ensure that working families on Temporary Assistance receive all of the assistance and support they need, and are eligible for, to maintain employment and become self-sufficient.  TOP is and innovative approach that connects resources and services in a location that is professional and employment oriented.  The Westchester County TOP program has been in operation since 10/15/04.  The following services are provided through this program:

  • Employment Orientation.
  • Assessment and Development of a Self-Sufficiency Plan, including an individual Employment Plan Strategy.
  • Referral to training and remedial services, as appropriate.
  • Supervised job search.
  • Job placement and job development.
  • Community work experience.
  • Transitional Medical Assistance, Transitional Child Care and Transitional Food Stamps.
  • Employment retention services.

Westchester County's TOP office is located within the Mt. Vernon Employment office at 100 East First St., Mt. Vernon, NY 10550.  The TOP office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  For information please call telephone (914) 813-6212. 

 What is the Shelter Supplement Program?

A Shelter Supplement may be provided to employed Temporary Assistance families with children who are homeless or facing homelessness, families who have recent work history, families in which an adult family member is disabled or receiving disability or retirement benefits, and/or families ready to enter transitional housing from family shelters, subject to all its regulations.  Application can be made at one of  local Service Centers.  Applicants must complete a Temporary Assistance (TA) application in addition to a Shelter Supplement checklist with supporting documentation.  Recipients of  TA need not make a new application, however, the Shelter Supplement checklist and supporting documentation must be provided.